TechCentury - Spring 2023

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Is the Midwest a Refuge for Climate Change?

To EV or Not to EV: Are We Ready?

Future City: Two Teams Go to Nationals

23 14 30
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ROUSH 8 2022 ESD Writing Contest Winners 12 AUCH Construction Looks to the Future 16 ESD Partners to Help Students 17 ESD Student Chapters Engage 22 Collaborative Problem Solving BY
23 Is the Midwest a Refuge for Climate Change? BY
28 How Rapid Access to Information Affects Our Perceptions and Attitudes BY
30 To EV or Not to EV: Are We Ready? BY
32 Book Review—The Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler BY
THE ENGINEERING SOCIETY OF DETROIT |  1 On the cover: Elvana Hammoud, PMP, Customer Experience Manager, DTE Energy; ESD Executive Director Robert Magee; and Kerry Doman, Founder and CEO, After 5 Detroit at “Link in the D” Summer Edition. “Link in the D” Winter Edition happened in January and is shown above. See page 16. INSIDE BACK

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tech century

V.28 I N.1 Spring


20700 Civic Center Drive, Suite 450 • Southfield, MI 48076 248–353–0735 • 248–353–0736 fax • •


CHAIR: Karyn Stickel, Hubbell, Roth & Clark

Utpal Dutta, PhD, FESD, University of Detroit Mercy

Linda Gerhardt, PhD, FESD

Richard, Hill, PhD, University of Detroit Mercy

Dana Marie LeFevre, Student, Michigan State University

William A. Moylan, Jr., PhD, PMP, FESD, Eastern Michigan University

Janice K. Means, PE, LEED AP, FESD, FASHRAE, Lawrence Technological University

Matt Roush, Yellow Flag Productions

Rajiv Shah, PE, ACSCM

Michael Stewart, Fishman Stewart Intellectual Property

Cyrill Weems, Burns & McDonnell

Yang Zhao, PhD, Wayne State University


PRESIDENT: Kirk T. Steudle, PE, FESD, Steudle Executive Group

VICE PRESIDENT: Robert A. Richard, DTE Energy

TREASURER: Alex F. Ivanikiw, AIA, LEED AP, FESD, OAC Advisers, LLC

SECRETARY: Robert Magee, The Engineering Society of Detroit

PAST PRESIDENT: Daniel E. Nicholson, PE, FESD, General Motors Company

Paul C. Ajegba, PE, Retired, Michigan Department of Transportation

Carla Bailo, Retired, Center for Automotive Research

Katherine M. Banicki, FESD, Testing Engineers and Consultants

Jeffrey L. Baxa, Barton Malow Company

Mike Boss, Dürr Systems, Inc.

Denise Carlson, DENSO International America, Inc.

Louay Chamra, PhD, Oakland University

Sean P. Conway, LIFT

Alec D. Gallimore, PhD, University of Michigan

Lori Gatmaitan, SAE Foundation

Ronald R. Henry, AIA, NCARB, Sachse Construction

Marc Hudson, Bamboo Detroit

Leo C. Kempel, PhD, FESD, Michigan State University

Thomas McCarthy, Stellantis

Dan Milot, ZF Group

Claude Molinari, Visit Detroit

Scott Penrod, Walbridge

Trevor Sherts, Ford Motor Company

Jasmine L. Sisson, PE, FESD, WSP USA Inc.

Terry J. Woychowski, FESD, Caresoft Global


PUBLISHER: Robert Magee, ESD Executive Director

MANAGING EDITOR: Nick Mason, ESD Director of Operations

EDITOR: Susan Thwing

Pub Notes

Happy New Year to all our readers! The theme of this issue is Climate Change. First, we focus on power and climate change. Is the Midwest a climate change refuge, with no mud slides, fires, and other natural disasters? We investigate what successes we have had and why, and how these successes may be adapted to benefit other regions.

We also feature a transportation article about the push for electric vehicles. While auto companies continue to strive toward a greater segment of EVs on the road, this article looks at not only the benefits, but also the potential risks.

In addition, you will find a thoughtful article spotlighting the benefits and risks of our easy access to information. As we have more immediate information and knowledge of global events at our fingertips, how can we use that benefit to help solve engineering problems?

We are pleased to have the return of our student writing contest, with the winning pieces published here. One of the prompts for the contest was to have students describe their favorite science fiction story. Building on that, we are launching a book review. I am kicking it off with Octavia Butler’s The Parable of the Sower, which ties into this issue’s theme.

Postmaster, please send changes to: ESD, 20700 Civic Center Drive, Suite 450, Southfield, MI 48076. Technology Century® (ISSN 1091-4153 USPS 155-460), also known as TechCentury, is published by The Engineering Society of Detroit (ESD). Periodical postage paid at Southfield, MI, and at additional mailing offices. The authors, editors, and publisher will not accept any legal responsibility for any errors or omissions that may be made in this publication. The publisher makes no warranty, expressed or implied, with respect to the material contained herein. Advertisements in TechCentury for products, services, courses, and symposia are published with a caveat emptor (buyer beware) understanding. The authors, editors, and publisher do not imply endorsement of products, nor quality, validity or approval of the educational material offered by such advertisements. ©2023 The Engineering Society of Detroit.

Our next issue will focus on emerging technologies in design and construction. If any of our member readers are interested in providing articles about this topic (i.e., 3D printing or buildings, artificial intelligence (AI) or augmented reality (AR), BIM)—or would like to write a related book review—please reach out to our editor Susan Thwing at


COLLABORATION: The Key to Success in Engineering

In the pages of this publication, you’ll find a great article about collaborative problem solving within the engineering profession.

Author William Moylan discusses how engineers from all segments of the industry can collaborate to solve problems and create strong solutions. It’s a timely article because there is no more essential time in our history for engineers to make a concerted effort to work across all disciplines to solve problems, grow ideas, and create the foundation of our world.

We now have a level of technology to globally communicate in real time, we have information and programming at our fingertips, and we can access computer systems that allow us to create models— viewing them together while in separate offices, states or countries—in order to reach our design and engineering goals. We have everything we need to better our projects, our disciplines and, ultimately, our communities.

I recently lead a national effort for the National Academy of Science with state departments of transportation, DOT’s, to develop a National Vision for Transportation, that gathered input from experts and stakeholders from all 50 states. Our goal—over 100 years after cycling advocated for good roads and automobiles hit the streets—was to set the vision for the next era of transportation and to develop individual and collective actions that state departments of transportation can take to create and deploy a community-centered transportation program. It’s a huge project, and it requires deep, effective, continual collaboration with multiple groups who have

never been invited to help develop a vision for how we effectively move people and good around the country and or communities.

This type of collaboration should become our go-to method of tackling projects from now on. And not just within the engineering communities. We need to work together across disciplines, departments, and industries to bring together the best ideas, the best methods, and the new ways of doing things. We cannot afford to stay within our individual silos or echo chambers. For every new project, adjacent groups need to be at the table. Whether it is, community members, advocates, public health professionals,emergency responders, utility providers, and the many disciplines of engineering—we need to look at each endeavor with fresh eyes and an attitude of collaboration.

I’ve witnessed this fact my entire career: no one individual, agency or discipline has a corner on knowledge. We need to bring everyone involved to the drawing table and respect their perspective, skills and abilities. Paraphrasing Nathan Doughtery’s ideas in the above quote—we need the scientists, the sociologists, the writers and the mathematicians to work in concert with engineers to solve tomorrow’s societal problems.

The most successful Future City teams take this approach quite often, why wouldn’t we take the same approach? Let’s work on this together!

4  |  TechCentury SPRING 2023
Kirk T. Steudle, PE, FESD President, The Engineering Society of Detroit President, Steudle Executive Group
“The ideal engineer is a composite … He is not a scientist, he is not a mathematician, he is not a sociologist or a writer; but he may use the knowledge and techniques of any or all of these disciplines in solving engineering problems.”
—Nathan W. Dougherty, American Civil Engineer


Scott Grasman has been named dean of the College of Engineering at Kettering University following a sixmonth interim appointment. As dean of the College of Engineering, Grasman oversees Kettering’s engineering programs, focused on developing new opportunities for Kettering students so they can succeed in rapidly changing industries. Before joining Kettering, Grasman spent six years as professor and department head of industrial and systems engineering at the Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, N.Y. He is the author or co-author of more than 100 technical and academic papers.


Lawrence Technological University’s Centrepolis Accelerator has received a $125,000 grant from the Kirkland, Washingtonbased Breakthrough Energy Foundation for general operating support. The Centrepolis Accelerator is unusual among business accelerators in that it concentrates on companies manufacturing physical products, rather than services or software. It works with both startups and established small businesses with efforts focused on growing cleantech, climatech, and circular-economy businesses. Since launching in August 2018, Centrepolis has supported the launch of several physical products made in Michigan as well as 366 client contracts with Michigan manufacturers valued at over $24 million.


DENSO, the Japanese auto supplier with North American headquarters in Southfield, has announced updates to its business groups, organizational structure and leadership roles and responsibilities in North America. Business units will organize under two business groups aligned with Green and Peace of Mind. Andrew Clemence will lead the Green Business Group, which will oversee efficiency-enabling technologies like thermal, electrification and motor products. Chuntao Ye will lead the Peace of Mind Business Group, which will lead advanced mobility technology development, including safety and connected vehicle products. Shinichi Nakamizo will centralize responsibility for regional manufacturing operations in

his continued role as Chief Manufacturing Officer. Other executives named include Pat Bassett as function head for quality engineering, Shinichiro Nakamura as function head for research and development, Chuntao Ye as president of Denso in Maryville, Tenn. and Peace of Mind business leader, Mitsuru Ban as business unit leader for engine injection components, Marty Deschenes as president of Denso in Athens, Tenn. and south sub-region leader, and Shuichi Kamakura as president of Denso’s thermal manufacturing plant in Battle Creek and leader of North America thermal manufacturing.


Altair, a global leader in computational science and artificial intelligence, announced the latest updates to its simulation portfolio, Simulation 2022.2. These updates improve Altair’s cloud elasticity and scalability, electrification, and product development capabilities. Simulation 2022.2 offers an enhanced Altair One, a turnkey marketplace that connects users—from any device at any time—to their solutions, data, teams, and compute infrastructure.


Barton Malow has hired Walter Jones as Senior Director and Healthcare Market Leader. In this role, he will leverage his broad background and successful track record of building relationships while improving the outcomes of projects for clients across the nation to further grow Barton Malow’s industry-leading healthcare portfolio. He will be based out of Barton Malow’s Nashville office but will support work acquisition, brand awareness, and the development of market strategies to create win-win results across the enterprise’s national footprint.

Scott Grasman Andrew Clemence Shinichi Nakamizo Chuntao Ye
Walter Jones


Wayne State University investigators were recently awarded a six-month, $50,000 planning grant from The National Science Foundation, U.S. Department of Energy, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security as part of a Civic Innovation Challenge. The Civic Innovation Challenge is a competition that funds ready-to-implement, researched-based pilot projects that have the potential for scalable, sustainable, and transferable impact on community-driven projects. WSU is among just 56 U.S. teams that were awarded grants.

Investigators with expertise in Social Work, Anthropology, Civil & Environmental Engineering, Communication, and Environmental Science will collaborate with the Eastside Community Network, Jefferson East, Inc., and the United Way for Southeastern Michigan to ensure that residents who have faced racial and economic discrimination have the information and resources needed to prepare

for and respond to climate change induced flooding. The project “Recovering from Expected Flooding

Under Residential Buildings” (REFURB) will use technology to improve recovery from and preparation for persistent and increasing severe basement flooding that impacts homes in Eastside Detroit.

Goals of the project include 1) Using flood damage reports, environmental, and other data to develop maps to target adaptations of critical infrastructure to mitigate future flooding vulnerability; 2) Describe the attributes and supports needed for equitable disaster recovery and mitigation; and 3) Develop an understanding of social structures, systems, and community science literacy needed for earlywarning, response, and flood risk preparedness for residents who lack digital access.


ESD Affiliate Council, American Society for Quality Member since 1982

STEPHEN R. DAVIS, P h D, FESD Professor Emeritus, Kettering University, Power Systems Engineering

ESD President, 1988-1989

ESD Board of Directors

ESD Council of Past Presidents

ESD College of Fellows

Gold Award Recipient, 1979

ESD Distinguished Service Award Member since 1967


Retired, Mechanical Engineer, Chrysler Corporation Senior Engineers Council Member since 1977


Retired, President, Victory Re-Steel Inc. Member since 1976


Consultant, Mechanical Engineer, Leader Associates Owner, Leader Machine Products Member since 1947


Retired, Civil Engineer, Wayne County Roads Member since 1973


Intellectual Property Council/Patent Attorney, Harness, Dickey & Pierce, PLC Member since 1981


Retired, Mechanical Engineer, Saturn Corp./GMC Member since 1964

The contributions of these recently deceased members will not be forgotten:
6  |  TechCentury SPRING 2023
David Ruby

ESD President Named to Michigan Transportation Hall of Honor

Kirk Steudle, PE, FESD—former Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) director, Lawrence Technology University (LTU) trustee, and current president of The Engineering Society of Detroit—was inducted into the Michigan Transportation Hall of Honor this fall.

The Hall of Honor, a permanent display in the Van Wagoner Transportation Building in Lansing, MDOT’s headquarters, was established in 1971 to honor individuals who have made outstanding contributions to Michigan’s network of highways, roads, streets, transit systems, railroads, airports, and waterways. Members are elected by a committee representing a wide range of transportation industry organizations. With the inclusion of this year’s honorees, 92 people have been inducted into the Hall of Honor.

“The Hall of Fame honor is especially rewarding considering the prior inductees. I walked by that display for my entire 30 plus year career and was in awe of what these great leaders did for transportation in Michigan and the impact they had on the nation over the past 120 years,” Steudle said. “To be considered as part of that group is truly

humbling. It was also very satisfying to be inducted with a great friend and colleague, Greg Johnson, at the same time.”

Steudle graduated with a Bachelor of Science in civil engineering from LTU in 1987. That year, he started as a staff engineer for the Michigan Department of Transportation. He was promoted to Bay City Transportation Service Center Manager in 1997 and Deputy Region Engineer for the Metro Detroit Region in 1999. He was named MDOT Chief Deputy Director in 2003 and MDOT Director in 2006.

Steudle left the MDOT in 2018 to become interim president of the American Center for Mobility. In 2019, he was named senior vice president of the Anaheim, Calif.based transportation equipment manufacturer Econolite Group Inc. He recently left Econolite to establish the engineering consultancy Steudle Executive Group.

Steudle is focused on integrating technology into transportation. He is a noted expert in surface transportation, and a nationally recognized leader in the development of connected vehicle technology. He served as chair for the Intelligent Transportation Society of

ESD President Kirk Steudle Kirk Steudle (center) with his wife and son at the Transportation Hall of Honor Induction Dinner at the Lansing Country Club.

America Board of Directors in 2015 and was inducted into the ITS World Congress Hall of Fame in 2016.

Steudle chaired the Transportation Research Board executive committee in 2014 and served as the 2011-12 president to the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials. He has been a board member of the Engineering Society of Detroit since 2009 and is ESD’s current president. He was named to the Lawrence Tech Board of Trustees in 2020.

When asked what his most memorable aspect of his career was, Steudle said “embracing technology with constant innovation for better customer service” was a priority. Accomplishments such as moving the Gordie Howe Bridge through the political, planning, and funding process as well as advancing the development of Mcity at the University of Michigan and the American Center for Mobility were notable. He is also proud of helping to increase collaboration with other state departments, and for advancing the quality of life and economic development within communities as well as working with the Corps of Engineers to secure funding for the Detroit District New Lock at the Soo Lock in Sault Sainte Marie.

Steudle was inducted into the LTU College of Engineering’s Hall of Fame in 2012 and serves on the college’s advisory board. He received the University’s highest honor, the Alumni Achievement Award, in 2008.

Steudle has served as ESD President since 2020. In 2014, he was inducted into the ESD College of Fellows. In 2016, he received the society’s Horace H. Rackham Humanitarian Award.


ESD Writing Contest WINNERS

The Engineering Society of Detroit is pleased to announce the winners of the fifth annual ESD Engineering Student Writing Contest.

To promote and engage student voices and ideas about the profession of engineering, the Society launched the contest in 2018. Open to all engineering students attending Michigan universities and studying within any of the engineering and related disciplines, the top three entries follow.

The students were asked to address one of three topics in an essay. The top award-winning essay, written by Olivia Racette, a bioengineering student at Oakland University, will receive a $1000 scholarship, sponsored by Fishman Stewart, and recognition at the 2023 Gold Award Reception.

Thank you to everyone who participated in this competition, which was judged by members of the TechCentury Editorial Board. Please enjoy reading the top three essays from these promising engineers!

The themes for next year’s competition will be announced in the summer and will have a fall deadline. For more information on the contest please visit or email Susan Thwing at


8  |  TechCentury SPRING 2023
Matt Roush is Managing Editor at Yellow Flag Productions and co-host of the M 2 TechCast podcast with Mike Brennan. Roush has spent more than 30 years as a reporter and editor covering high tech, business, and local government.
From left: Greg Johnson, Sam Crowl, Senator Wayne A. Schmidt, and Kirk Steudle at the Induction Ceremony.


OLIVIA RACETTE, from Rochester, Michigan, is an Oakland University student studying bioengineering. She plans to graduate with her degree in Spring 2024. She chose to write an advice column and answer the question “What advice would you give either your mentors or upcoming students/young engineers in relation to the world of engineering?”

The I’s in Engineering

Ignite. Interact. Innovate. Inspire. These are four core principles that align closely with why I am passionate about engineering. As a young girl, I was always interested in building or working with my hands—I played the violin, made jewelry and cards, and eagerly looked forward to when my dad and I would put new furniture together. My mom first put the idea of engineering in my head, and from there, I really grew to love the idea of becoming an engineer, to be someone who creates. Then, I came across biomedical engineering in high school, and I knew that was what I wanted to do. It was fascinating how medicine and engineering intertwined and how the relationship can be applied in a myriad of ways. I am now a bioengineering student at Oakland University practicing my principles as well as encouraging other students to do the same.

Ignite. This is the first step for a young person to see if engineering is a field that really sparks their interest. Do they want to design products for a job? Would they like working with cars, boats, bridges, or rockets? Do they like working with computer-aided design (CAD) or programming? The list of questions is endless, but I would encourage young students to explore their options and find out what captivates them. There are so many different types of engineering available today that if a student had a slight interest in engineering, they would be able to find their niche.

Interact. This step is one of the most important and plays a large role in your learning. As a high school student, it is extremely hard to think about having to choose a path for a career that you might work in for 40 years. To learn more about a field, you must put yourself out there and reach out to people. This could mean talking to current students, college professors, or people working in the industry, all of whom are more than happy to share their experiences and knowledge. As someone who tends to be the quieter person in the room, I still struggle with this, but with practice, it gets easier and from my experience, the people that I have talked to are welcoming and instantly make me more comfortable. Additionally, as president of

the Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society, I have had the opportunity to learn more about different paths in bioengineering as well as connect other engineering students to people in academia and industry, so I would highly recommend getting involved in clubs. They are an excellent way of meeting students with similar interests and a great way to make new connections. Interacting with others is an integral part of engineering, and it is necessary to have the skills to work with peers and build off each other’s ideas. You form a camaraderie with fellow students and engineers and being able to hear their thoughts and passions is very inspirational.

Innovate. Engineers are thinkers, creators, builders, inventors. They come up with solutions for problems and improve existing situations. As an engineer, you get to be a problem solver, and along with the many types of engineering degrees, there are a variety of working environments that can accommodate someone who likes to physically work with their hands, someone who prefers designing from a computer, and someone who might want to do both. For me, I loved the idea of having a job where I could create things that help others. Delving into the unknown is exciting; it is like exploring new land that no one knew existed and not even knowing how far it goes. Engineers push boundaries and the horizon never gets closer to you as you keep walking—there is always more to explore.

Inspire. As an engineer now, you have responsibility for the next generation of potential engineers. It is important to be open to passing down your learned wisdom so that even when you are no longer working, all the people that you made an impact on are carrying forth your ideas and then building them even greater. I am fortunate to have been able to represent the Bioengineering department at events and I am always so excited to have future students come to my table wanting to learn more about the field. Achieving your goals and demonstrating your passion is an inspiration for the younger generation.

Engineering is not about one person. The only I’s in engineering are ignite, interact, innovate, and inspire.



MADISON HINMAN is studying product design and manufacturing and biomedical engineering at Grand Valley State University. Her anticipated graduation date is May 2025. Madison also wrote an advice column and answered the question “What advice would you give either your mentors or upcoming students/young engineers in relation to the world of engineering?”

We have all heard of the head versus heart dichotomy. Those who think with their head tend to be driven by reason and logic. Meanwhile, those led by their heart are driven by emotion. Engineers tend to be the former. We thrive on reason and logic. As an engineer, it is certainly beneficial to solve problems analytically and with indisputable calculations. However, we cannot forget why we are solving these problems; we cannot lose the heart of engineering.

In May of 2022, I started my first cooperative experiential learning rotation at Autocam Medical, a contract medical device manufacturer. For this entire rotation, I worked as a machinist which allowed me to acquire a more in-depth understanding of the machine I worked on, including its constraints. I also gained immense respect and appreciation for machinists and the challenges they face each day. On my first day of work, I was informed that I would be working in the Alcon department. This department specializes in manufacturing phacoemulsification handpieces, devices utilized in cataract surgeries.

Throughout the summer, I aided in the production of the bolts and shafts that are a part of the aspiration line— the line that draws the cataract out of the eye during the procedure—in the final assembled handpiece. Each part is turned on a CNC Swiss lathe, then undergoes various methods to measure dimensions. Consequently, my job primarily consisted of ensuring every bolt and shaft was within specification. If a part was not within specification, I had to determine the error with the machine and correct the problem. The repetitive nature of checking each part could easily lead to mindlessness and mistakes. I learned that not filtering out-of-specification parts could lead to greater issues in operations later on and negatively affect my co-workers in other departments, such as laser welding. Additionally, I quickly became aware of the strong connection between my job and a loved one. The quality of the product I produced was not only necessary but was very personal.

When my sister was six years old, she was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa, a degenerative retinal disease.

Moreover, in recent years, she has been diagnosed with Coats disease. Coats disease is associated with abnormal development of the blood vessels in the retina. My sister is now twenty-three years old and legally blind. She receives eye injections regularly to aid in reducing the fluid buildup in her eyes. A side effect of the eye injections is cataracts, which she developed in both eyes. Therefore, at the end of the summer of 2022, my sister had cataract surgery in her right eye. In November of 2022, she had cataract surgery in her left eye as well. We found out from the surgeon that the handpiece used in my sister’s procedures was the same brand as the handpieces I assisted in manufacturing while at Autocam Medical.

During the summer, I knew of my sister’s upcoming cataract surgeries. Therefore, I looked at each bolt and shaft as one that could be in the handpiece used in my sister’s procedures. Not only did I learn the effect my job had on subsequent operations, but that the quality of my work could directly impact the health of my own sister. Since then, I have developed a big-picture mindset and passion behind the work I do as an engineer. I cannot solve a problem simply for the sake of solving the problem. The solution I develop must be at a caliber in which I feel comfortable and confident in the impact it would have on a loved one. Engineering with loved ones in mind creates a fire of passion within you, paving the way to higher quality work.

It is easy to get caught up in the design, the numbers, the components of a device, the complicated code, and all other aspects of engineering. Nevertheless, we cannot lose sight of the impact our job has on people. Whether you are a professor, in industry, a mentor, a student, or a young engineer, my advice to you is this: imagine your loved one behind every problem you solve. In the classroom, we are taught the theory behind various engineering principles. When we apply the theory outside the classroom, we must also consider who we are impacting and how we are impacting them. Thus, throughout your life as an engineer, it is imperative that you do not lose the heart of engineering.

ESD WRITING CONTEST 10  |  TechCentury SPRING 2023
“The Heart of Engineering”


MARIANNA OSENTOKSI is a Michigan State University Mechanical Engineering student with an anticipated graduation date of December 2023. She chose the topic “What’s your favorite SciFi or Fantasy story, why, and how is engineering involved in the storyline?”

The world of science fiction has always been surrounded with an aura of fantastic imagination, fabulous innovations, and impossible accomplishments. This genre has dreamed the future and challenged creative minds with the questions “What if this was truly possible, and how can it be achieved?”

Of all science fiction, some of the best examples that illustrate this are the Star Trek series. Since its inception in 1966, this cult classic has introduced various designs, concepts, and inventions into the common vocabulary. Devices such as phasers, tricorders, replicators, transporters, warp drives, communicators, comm badges and more have piqued our curiosity, and challenged our inventiveness and creativity. What if all these ideas are truly possible and just waiting to be engineered? The challenge was made and accepted.

Today, in the 21st century, there are many innovations in use that bear a striking resemblance to the fantastic concepts of the Star Trek creators and writers. Taser devices can stun and immobilize much like a phaser set to stun. Voice activated computers and devices such as Alexa and Siri can provide information, turn on lights, play music, make reservations and more simply in response to a voice request. Three dimensional printers can create usable objects calling to mind the starship’s many replicators. Auto-pilot controls now exist to pilot our planes and

cars. Mobile phones, smart watches, trackers, and similar devices can locate individuals, track them, communicate with them, and even monitor their breathing, heart rate, and cardiac status much like the futuristic comm badges of the Enterprise crews.

Captain Kirk’s “on screen” conferences with other ships, worlds, and command centers exist today as our facetime, chat rooms, video calls, and zoom meetings. Virtual reality entertainment is an entry level holo-suite program. Medical devices such as needle-less hypo sprays, wireless monitoring devices, and non-invasive procedures resemble much of the medical equipment found in Dr. McCoy’s sick bay. Present day space labs, space stations, and satellite systems are basic forms of the elaborate ones seen in the series. Today, almost every individual carries a personal computer device in the form of a mobile phone or a tablet. In The Next Generation , they were referred to as PADD’s (Personal Access Display Devices).

The world of artificial intelligence, although still in its infancy, holds promise to one day develop androids as sophisticated as Data. In the world of star travel, the universal translator enabled the crew to communicate with any race encountered. Today, we have a variety of translation apps for both the spoken and written word that works almost as rapidly as Uhura’s.

“To boldly go where no one has gone before!”

“Things are only impossible until they are not.”
— Captain Jean Luc Picard, U.S.S. Enterprise.

AUCH Construction Looks to the Future

What does the future hold for the construction industry? In healthcare, education, entertainment—all areas—what will the industry look like in 2052?

Last year, AUCH Construction President and CEO Jeff Hamilton challenged retiring CEO Vince DeLeonardis to answer that question as a legacy to his dedicated and prestigious career in the business. So DeLeonardis took on a special project in his final year before retirement and “6 Glimpses of 2052”—a symposium with six dynamic speakers who discussed what the next 30 years may hold in their respective industries—was held this fall.

DeLeonardis explained, “At AUCH Construction, we have always valued the power of forward planning in our work. Whether used on a construction project or in corporate governance, actions based on the early identification of challenges and opportunities are the best method to optimize the outcome. Motivated and inspired by the employees of AUCH, the 6 Glimpses of 2052 program was developed to give our employees, along with our industry partners, community leaders, educators, and students, the tools to make our optimism for the future a reality.”

The future-driven “6 Glimpses of 2052” was held at the historic Flagstar Strand Theatre in downtown Pontiac, just blocks from AUCH’s headquarters. The inspiring program was also live streamed through reservations, which included invitations to 15 colleges and universities across Michigan. The full program video is available on AUCH’s website. Included in the four-hour program were introductions by Karl Daubmann, AIA, FAAR, Dean and Professor, College of Architecture and Design at Lawrence Technological University, and the program was moderated by Dr. Thomas Kimble, Ph.D., President Emeritus, AARP Michigan.

The topics and speakers included: Culture/Entertainment—Anthony La Verde, CEO, Emagine Entertainment, Inc.; Economy—Dr. Gabriel Ehrlich, Director of Research Seminar in Quantitative Economics (RSQE), University of Michigan; Healthcare—Peter Karadjoff, FACHE, Senior Vice President Performance Excellence, Trinity Health; Education—Dr. Kimberly Hurns, Vice Chancellor of Student Services, Oakland Community College; Architecture/ Engineering—Dan Pitera, FAIA, Professor and Dean, Detroit Mercy School of Architecture and Community Development; and Construction—Brian Turmail, Vice President, Public Affairs and Strategic Initiatives, Associated General Contractors of America.

Preparing for the future has been an integral part of its culture since AUCH’s founding in 1908. In the subsequent 115 years, AUCH has had a part in building Michigan: from schools and homes to religious, manufacturing,

12  |  TechCentury SPRING 2023
AUCH’s “6 Glimpses of 2052” symposium took a look at the next 30 years in the construction industry.

and healthcare facilities. Now AUCH employs nearly 100 full-time construction professionals and support staff. And Hamilton considers the company “a family. We support each other, encourage each other, and promote from within. Our integrity and the quality of our work and our people are our foundation.”

Hamilton, the eighth president and CEO in those 115 years, has been with the company since 1994. He became president two years ago and CEO when DeLeonardis retired at the end of 2022.

“Took about a year for Vince to put ‘Glimpses’ all together. It was a special project as a way to close out his legacy,” Hamilton said. “He was a big history buff, so I asked ‘Vince you’re interested in history, what about doing something to highlight the future?”

Hamilton said there were numerous take-aways from the symposium, and also many questions, “We need to think about where we will be in 30 years. How will we do business? Obviously artificial intelligence will play a role, robots are already doing many of our tasks—including things we don’t have enough people to do.”

Hamilton says one of the most serious challenges facing the construction industry today is attracting and training the skilled workforce required to build the projects necessary for the continued growth of the Michigan economy.

“A lot of the essential things in high school—woodshop, auto shop – have gone away. We have STEM and STEAM but we also need the people who like to work with their hands. We need people who love to do things with their hands. People who’d rather be building things,” he said, adding that the option of a career in construction isn’t always in front of the students who would excel at it. “But when you expose them to construction, they have no idea how easy it is to get involved once you give them that path.”

With this in mind, AUCH works hard to get the message out about the excellent careers available in the skilled trades as well as the architectural, engineering, and construction professions. This includes organizing, supporting, and participating in career fairs, mentoring programs, and scholarship programs reaching thousands of Michigan school students every year. AUCH also actively participates in minority and women-owned business mentoring and project participation programs.

“Our AUCH Foundation is involved at Schoolcraft and Oakland Community College and we actively are involved in workforce development, especially on a field basis, working with unions, the Talent Development Coalition and the ACE (Architecture, Construction, Engineering) Mentor program,” he said. “We work to expose individuals—who don’t have the means or knowledge about programs that can inform them about what they could achieve with their lives—to new opportunities.”

In addition, to show AUCH Construction’s appreciation for both educators’ and students’ participation in the

symposium, the AUCH Construction Foundation funded $5,000 in scholarships for students enrolled in accredited college, university or certified apprentice programs who attended the program, and submitted an application.

Hamilton said looking to the future means embracing technology but also holding on to the key strengths from the past. “Artificial intelligence is a big part of where we’ll go. I’m excited for new construction and what the future holds in this area,” he said. “But any achievement is done through teams and people working together. Great communication is and will be key because we cannot achieve our goals for the future without solid communication.”

As DeLeonardis explained at the beginning of 6 Glimpses, “We know that problems will come about. By looking ahead and anticipating what some of those challenges are, so we can take advantage of them, it helps us to be optimistic that we can look at the past, and know we can take care of those challenges in the future.”

AUCH Construction’s many projects include the M1 Concourse Event Center in Pontiac (top) and Schoolcraft College’s Livonia Medical Center (bottom).

Two Teams Head to Future City Nationals

In January, middle-school students shared their ideas for addressing climate change in cities of the future. Future City is a projectbased learning program where students imagine, research, design and build cities of the future. This year’s theme is Climate Change. Students chose a climate change impact and designed one innovative and futuristic climate change adaptation and one mitigation strategy to keep their city’s residents healthy and safe.

Thanks go to our final-round judges: Ashwini Balasubramanian , General Manager, Advanced Engineering, Harley-Davidson Motor Company; Dr. Louay Chamra , Dean, School of Engineering & Computer Science, Oakland University; Cedric Flowers , Vice President, Gas Operations, DTE Energy; Dr. Domenico Grasso , Chancellor, University of Michigan Dearborn; Mike Ryan, Senior Vice President, Ghafari; and Dr. Dean Tomazic , Chief Operating Officer, FEV North America, Inc. Matt Roush, Managing Editor, Yellow Flag Productions, served as emcee.

St. John Lutheran School from Rochester, took first place for the sixth year in a row, while Pierce Middle School from Grosse Pointe Park came in second. A rookie team from Tappan Middle School in Ann Arbor placed third. Rounding out the top five, JKL Bahweting Anishnabe Academy from Sault Sainte Marie placed fourth, and a team from Light of the World Academy in Pinckney placed fifth.

This year, not only will St. John go on to represent Michigan at the national competition, but second-place Pierce Middle School will be heading to Washington, D.C. to compete for Michigan as well.

For more information about the competition, including a full gallery of photos, please visit For more information about the event, please contact Allison Marrs at or 248-353-0735, ext. 121.

14  |  TechCentury SPRING 2023 ESD HAPPENINGS
First-place winner St. John Lutheran School, Rochester Second-place winner Pierce Middle School, Grosse Pointe Park The fourth-place team from JKL Bahweting Anishnabe Academy in Sault Sainte Marie presents during the final round. Their city model is shown below. For all team photos, visit


Best City for People with Disabilities Award

Michigan Paralyzed Veterans of America

Pierce Middle School, Grosse Pointe Park

Best Communication System Award

Society of Women Engineers, Detroit Professional Section

St. John Lutheran School, Rochester

Best Engineered Project Award

NTH Consultants, Ltd.

Tappan Middle School, Ann Arbor – New Kirkland Team

Best Land Surveying Practices Award

National Council of Examiners for Engineering & Surveying

DeWitt Middle School, DeWitt – River Ridge Team

Best Project Plan Award

Project Management Institute Educational Foundation

Pierce Middle School, Grosse Pointe Park

Best Use of Energy Award

DTE Energy Foundation

Comstock STEM Academy, Comstock

Best Use of Green Principles Award

USGBC Detroit Region,Green Schools Committee

Tappan Middle School, Ann Arbor – Silver Bay Team

Best Use of Materials Award

ASM International, Detroit Chapter

Sarah Banks Middle School, Wixom

Best Waste Management and Recycling Award

East Michigan Chapter of the Air & Waste Management Association and Waste Management, Inc.

Bates Academy, Detroit

Building with the American Spirit: People, Projects & Communities Award

Barton Malow Company

JKL Bahweting Anishnabe Academy, Sault Sainte Marie

Electrotechnology Award

IEEE Southeast Michigan Chapter

Tappan Middle School, Ann Arbor – Superior Point Team

Engineering Excellence Award

The Engineering Society of Detroit

Light of the World Academy, Pinckney – Mandala Team

Herbert W. Link Visionary Award

Link Engineering Company

Michigan Math and Science Academy Dequindre, Warren

Incorporation of Plastic Materials Award

Society of Plastics Engineers Detroit Section

Tappan Middle School, Ann Arbor – Silver Bay Team

Innovative Sustainability Award

University of Detroit Mercy

Sarah Banks Middle School, Wixom

Most Healthy Community Award

Blue Cross Blue Shield Blue Care Network of Michigan

JKL Bahweting Anishnabe Academy, Sault Sainte Marie

Most Innovative Design for Water Conservation and Reuse Award

American Society of Plumbing Engineers, Eastern Michigan Chapter

St. John Lutheran School, Rochester

Most Team Spirit Award

The Engineering Society of Detroit

Light of the World Academy, Pinckney – Euphoria Team

People’s Choice Award

The Engineering Society of Detroit

Michigan Math and Science Academy Dequindre, Warren

Rookie Team of the Year Award

The Engineering Society of Detroit

Tappan Middle School, Ann Arbor – Superior Point Team

Safest City Award

Hartland Insurance Group, Inc.

Tappan Middle School, Ann Arbor – Superior Point Team

Detroit Region Green Schools Committee Southeast Michigan Chapter Detroit
Detroit Chapter


ESD has expanded its successful “Link in the D” networking event with a Winter Edition, held this year on January 4. The event is a chance for industry executives and engineering students to get to know one another in a casual setting. The summer event was held at DTE Energy and

drew nearly 300 students, with 20 companies represented. The winter event was held at ESD Headquarters and drew the maximum 130 students (with a long waiting list) and 25 companies. If interested in participating, please contact Heather Lilley at or 248-353-0735, ext. 120.

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“Link in the D” Winter Edition was held on January 4 at ESD Headquarters in Southfield. Over 130 students and 25 companies attended. Students and executives had the chance to network in a casual no-resumés-allowed space. Above: “Link in the D” Summer Edition was held this summer at DTE Energy. Nearly 300 students and 20 companies attended. In the upper left photo, Elvana Hammoud, PMP, Customer Experience Manager, DTE Energy, welcomed everyone from the stage; she is flanked by After 5 Detroit’s Kerry Doman and ESD’s Robert Magee.


ESD has Student Chapters in 14 Michigan universities. One goal of the chapters is to help students engage with industry and propel themselves into fulfilling engineering careers. To that end, ESD holds events throughout the year to bring students together with industry executives,

many of whom are looking for engineering talent. Some events, like “Link in the D” or our recent “Building a More Sustainable Future” with Kristen Siemen, GM’s Chief Sustainability Officer, are for all chapters, while others, like the MSU event below, are school-specific.

Above: On January 31, the ESD Student Chapter at Michigan State University held a reception for those participating in their Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Symposium held in partnership with the National Society of Black Engineers, the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, and the Society of Women Engineers. The event drew roughly 70 students and 10 companies. On January 25, GM Chief Sustainability Officer Kristen Siemen presented on “Building a More Sustainable Future” to ESD Student Chapter members and members of the ESD community. The webinar, which was moderated by LIFT’s Sean Conway, drew nearly 80 people.



Training Day: March 13, 2023 • Granger Waste Services Main Office, Lansing Conference Day March 14, 2023 • Kellogg Hotel & Conference Center, East Lansing

Sponsored by ESD and the Michigan Waste and Recycling Association, the 32nd Annual Solid Waste Technical Conference is designed to educate attendees on cutting-edge technological innovations and solutions related to the solid waste industry. The conference brings together national experts to present on issues related to policy, new technologies and what the future holds for the industry.

A pre-conference training day is planned, designed to provide practical guidance and hands-on demonstrations.

For more information or to register to attend, visit, or contact Leslie Smith, CMP, at or 248-353-0735, ext. 152.


March 15, 2023

Join ESD’s Affiliated Technical Societies as we come together to honor and recognize our leaders—engineers, scientists and technical professionals who have distinguished themselves through outstanding achievement and service within their respective Societies.

Hosted by The Engineering Society of Detroit and its Affiliate Council, the event features this year’s Gold Award winner, Robert F. Bordley, PhD, nominated by INCOSE.

The event will take place at The Engineering Society of Detroit’s headquarters in Southfield. For more information or to register, visit or contact Elana Shelef at or 248-353-0735, ext. 119.



Third Wednesday of Each Month

ESD established the Affiliate Council to encourage cross-society cooperation and communication between engineering, scientific and allied professional societies. ESD members are invited to attend. Meetings include a technical presentation, and the topics change every month. Continuing education certificates are available upon request.

Meetings are currently being held online via the Zoom platform, from 6–7 p.m. the third Wednesday of each month.

For more information or to register, contact Elana Shelef at or 248-3530735, ext. 119.

Employers: Exhibit space is available for those looking to hire. Meet in person with engineering and tech professionals, college students and recent graduates eager to find their next opportunity.

Job Seekers: Whether you are a seasoned professional, a recent graduate, or an in-between careers job seeker, you’ll find your next position at ESD’s job fair. Employers will be recruiting for full and part-time positions, as well as internships and co-ops.

The job fair will be held at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi from 2–7 p.m. For more information on exhibiting or attending, visit esd. org or contact Leslie Smith, CMP, at 248353-0735, ext. 152, or

18  |  TechCentury SPRING 2023
Robert F. Bordley


Summer/Fall Session Starts in July 2023

Holding a PE license sets you apart. Adding PE initials after your name provides many benefits including a higher salary, faster career advancement and the ability to sign and seal contracts and drawings.

For over 75 years, ESD has helped thousands of engineers pass the State licensing exam. ESD’s review courses will prepare you to pass the exam on your first try. Learn in a small group setting from academic and industry professionals who have first-hand knowledge of the course material.

For more information and to register, please contact Elana Shelef at of 248-353-0735, ext. 119, or visit


May 9, 2023

In its 24th year, this conference, the only one of its kind in Michigan, is designed to educate small to large commercial and industrial businesses on technology, products, and services that will assist them in successful energy management.

Hosted by DTE Energy and ESD, the conference will include a special keynote presentation, educational tracks and dozens of exhibitors offering energy-related products and services.

The conference will take place at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi. For more information or to register, visit or call 248-353-0735.


Ongoing (check for dates)

Discover the many benefits of becoming a licensed professional engineer. Attend a complimentary session and learn about the path to licensure. Sessions are scheduled several times each month. There is no cost to attend, but preregistration is required.

Check for dates and times. For more information contact Elana Shelef at or 248-353-0735, ext. 119.


Through April 2023

Michigan PEs who want to enhance their personal and professional growth, or who need continuing education hours, can check out ESD’s three and four-hour courses.

Current PEs can take ESD review course classes on an à la carte basis to satisfy state requirements. A broad range of topics are offered. The live, instructor-led, online classes are taught by academic and industry professionals.

For a class schedule and to register, visit or contact Elana Shelef at or 248-353-0735, ext. 119.

Interested in sponsoring or exhibiting? Contact Leslie Smith, CMP, at or 248-353-0735, ext. 152.


June 12, 2023

Looking forward to sunny skies and getting back on the greens? Mark your calendar and plan to join your colleagues and friends for ESD’s 12th Annual Golf Outing. Enjoy a day of fun and networking in support of engineering. Outing proceeds help support ESD’s outreach and educational efforts.

The golf outing will take place at Oak Pointe Country Club in Brighton. Golfers—register early as this popular event sells out each year.

For more information, to register, or for sponsorship opportunities, visit or contact Heather Lilley at or 248-353-0735, ext. 120.


June 2023

The Engineering Society of Detroit’s 2023 Annual Dinner is being planned for this June. Watch for a save the date postcard and check for updates. For information on sponsoring or attending the dinner, contact Elana Shelf at 248-353-0735, ext. 119, or





Entry Deadline: February 28, 2023

ESD’s John G. Petty Image Award recognizes individuals who have promoted, publicized and enhanced the engineering and technical professions to the public-at-large through public engagement, mentoring, public speaking, authoring articles, and other publicly visible activities.

Nominees do not have to be ESD members, but nominators must be. Nominations are due by February 28, 2023. Nomination requirements and additional information can be found at or contact Susan Thwing at


Nomination Deadline: February 28, 2023

Help us recognize leaders by nominating a Fellow, one of the highest recognitions that ESD can bestow its members. Candidates are selected based on outstanding professional accomplishments, leadership and service. They must be members in good standing for at least five years at time of application deadline. Full details and instructions are at For questions, contact Heather Lilley at or 248-353-0735, ext. 120.


Entry Deadline: February 28, 2023

ESD’s Construction and Design Awards honor the three primary members of the building team—owners, designers, and constructors—and recognize outstanding team achievement and innovative use of technology. At least one of the primary members of the project team must be an ESD member. For more information, visit or contact Leslie Smith, CMP, at or 248-353-0735, ext. 152.


Applications Due: February 22, 2023

Outstanding Young Engineer of the Year

This award recognizes a young professional under the age of 35 who has best distinguished him/herself in the engineering and scientific communities. Criteria include education, work experience, and professional and community activities. Applicants must be members of ESD.

Outstanding College Student of the Year

This award recognizes an undergraduate student who has best distinguished him/ herself in the engineering and scientific communities. Criteria include academic background, extracurricular activities, and employment experience. The winner(s) will receive a $2,000 scholarship.

Outstanding High School Student of the Year

This award recognizes a graduating high school senior. To be considered, applicants must have a least a 3.0 GPA, plan on pursuing a career in the field of engineering or the life sciences, and participate in volunteer activities. The winner(s) will receive a $2,000 scholarship.

Online applications are available at For more information, contact Sue Ruffner at or 248-353-0735, ext. 117.

Fellow nominations are due February 28, 2023.
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2022 C&D Award Winner, the Edsel and Eleanor Ford House Visitor Center

In its 24T H year, this conference, the only one of its kind in Michigan, is designed to educate small to large commercial and industrial businesses on technology, products, and services that will assist them in successful energy management.


• A keynote presentation during lunch

• Educational tracks offering informative 30-minute presentations

• Dozens of exhibitors offering energy–related products and services

• Major awards recognizing energy efficiency initiatives

ESD Member


COST TO ATTEND: $110 $140 $195

Non-Member—attend and join ESD at a discounted rate! (This offer is available to new, first-time members only.)

Visit for more information and to register, or call 248-353-0735.

Exhibitor and sponsorship opportunities are available. Contact Leslie Smith, CMP, at or 248-353-0735, ext. 152 for more information.

May 9, 2023

Collaborative Problem Solving

Collaborative Problem Solving (CPS) is essentially solving problems by working together as a team [Webster]. Effectively solving technical problems as a team is more than just sharing the number-crunching. Rather, CPS encompasses the Critical C’s of Communication, Cooperation, Creativity, and Critical Thinking, augmented with Computerized information gathering, computation and sharing. The challenges of solving problems as a team involves blending the skills and knowledge of multiple people who will deal with a magnitude of ideas and options, while attempting to focus and stay on track, all the while engaging efficiently and communicating effectively during the collaboration. To say this can be dauting is putting it mildly. This article will offer techniques and suggestions to deal with the agony and the ecstasy of CPS—leveraging the power of teamwork to develop and implement the best solution.

Too Many Cooks Spoil the Broth

The first CPS challenge deals with the most critical element of any team—the people. Suggestions include:

 Establish Team Norms. At the inception, set the expectations for team member behavior. For example, the team expects openness, mutual respect, and equal consideration of all ideas without retribution.

 Include Many Voices. Obtaining input from individuals affected by the problem, beyond the team, can prove to be invaluable.

 Clearly Define the Problem. A well-defined problem is the core of CPS, helping to yield a great solution.

Many Hands Make Light Work

The next CPS hurdle deals with the process. Developing the problem solution requires the following:

 Think Critically. The team must consider a wide range of potential possibilities, thinking beyond the mundane and the “tried and true” solutions. Consider the crazy.

 Kindle Creativity. Encouraging “out-of-the-box” thinking is a hallmark of CPS. Proposing solutions that may seem, at first, impossible to implement may spark a creative approach with merit leading to an elegant, robust resolution.

 Evaluate to Motivate. Providing positive public feedback to the team and individual members encourages participation, distills fear, and improves team morale. It is easier to be critical than correct; best to praise in public and punish (if necessary) in private.

Many Minds in Harmony Produce Great Results

The third leg of the CPS stool is the plan. Taking the proposed solution to completion requires:

 Reach Consensus. Considering alternate solutions needs an appropriate level of reflective discussion on the relative pluses [advantages] and minuses [drawbacks] of each proposal. Coming to consensus on THE decision means the team agrees to support implementing the agreed-to solution.

 Work the Plan. The condensed solution to the defined problem [the what] requires a realistic plan [the how] to put it into action. The team, involved in creating the solution, must be empowered to execute the problem resolution.1 The best time to act is now.

 Lessons Learned on TGR & TGW. The team’s work is not finished until the paperwork is done, which includes evaluating the solution to the problem [the plan] as well as the team’s performance [the process]. The project review addresses the things gone right [TGR], things gone wrong [TGW] with suggestions for improvement. Including review input from executive management, support organizations, and the groups impacted by the solved problem makes for a robust review.

Celebrate Success as a Team

The burden that is lifted when a problem is solved is enough victory for some. However, a team that plays together should celebrate together. It’s not only collaboration that brings unity to a team. It’s also the combined celebration of a unified victory—savoring the moment, realizing the collectiveness of one’s success.


1. Mind Manager (2022), Collaborative Problem Solving: What It Is and How to Do It, available at en/tips/problem-solving/collaborative/

William A. Moylan, PhD, PMP, FESD, DTM , is a professor emeritus at Eastern Michigan University and instructs in Construction Management. Dr. Moylan is a Certified Project Management Professional (PMP) through the Project Management Institute. He also serves as a consultant, trainer, educator, expert witness and practitioner in professional Project Management and Construction Engineering. He is a member of the TechCentury Editorial Board.

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Is the Midwest a Refuge for Climate Change?

Increasingly frequent and more extreme weather events—exacerbated by global warming—may lead some folks to move to areas where they perceive that they will be safer. Recently, there have been assertions that the Midwest, and Michigan in particular, would be less affected by the worst climate change-related events. In March of 2017, Popular Science published a short video claiming Michigan will be ‘the’ climate refuge for the nation in 2100.1 The “online geography resource” website,, also lists Michigan as the safest state in the nation with regard to national disasters, which includes some non-climate change-related events.2 Others are stating that there are no areas safe from climate change. A group of MSU scientists have pointed to some short-term advantages, but stress that no area will escape the worst effects of climate change.3

This article looks at the worst effects of climate change, which of these are affecting (or are predicted to affect) the Midwest, and what factors are thought to make a climate change refuge area. It makes sense to also look at additional natural disaster events not necessarily caused or exacerbated by climate change, as well as the availability of fresh water, when evaluating a refuge area.


To begin, we will examine weather and climate hazard risk in the Midwest, as compared to the entire United States. The FEMA Weather and Climate Hazard Risk Map (shown in Fig. 1 and graded by county) uses darker pink shades to denote greater risk areas. The eight Midwest states, as defined by the 4th National Climate Assessment, are contained in the green ‘square’, added by the author on this and the additional maps in this article.

Note that for the Midwest, only areas around the large cities (Detroit, Chicago, St. Louis, and Kansas City) show higher risks in the weather and climate hazard risk, while the higher- and highest-risk areas are more widespread in the states of California, Arizona, New Mexico, Florida and Texas.

Therefore, according to FEMA, the Midwest generally has less climate risk, at least when compared to the states just cited.

NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) have collected data on the frequency and cost of extreme weather events in the United States but concentrates on events exceeding a minimum of one billion dollars each. These extreme weather events are based primarily on damage costs. The disasters followed are (1) drought (includes heat waves), (2) flooding, (3) crop freeze, (4) severe local storms (i.e., tornado, hail, straight-line wind damage), (5) tropical cyclones, (6) wildfires and (7) winter storms.

The United States has historically experienced all of these events, but with global warming, their effects have been amplified and are now happening more frequently.

Additionally, every state has experienced at least one category of these events. We will compare graphic data for the period of 1980 through October 11, 2022, to better understand the costs of each event category in the Midwest.4

The first map in the NCEI series (Fig. 2) shows the cost of combined billion-dollar extreme weather event categories by state. This and the following specific category maps show darkening colors as the weather disaster expense increases.

Fig. 1. FEMA Weather and Climate Hazard Risk Map

From this map, we can conclude that:

 The Midwest has not been free of extreme weather events.

 Michigan and Wisconsin sustained the least costs of the Midwest states for the extreme weather events in total.

 The states which have incurred the highest costs from extreme weather events (all outside the Midwest) are Texas, Florida and Louisiana.

Next, let’s examine how the Midwest states were rated on the individual extreme weather category maps shown (Figs. 3-9) with lowest costs in the lightest shades. For the billion-dollar extreme weather events compiled for the subject period, the states of Michigan and Wisconsin historically fare as the best Midwest candidates as

potential refuge states at least for some types of extreme weather events, as summarized below:

 Michigan and Wisconsin have experienced relatively low or no billion-dollar events for wildfires, tropical cyclones and crop freeze events.

 Ohio, followed by Michigan and Wisconsin, incurred the least cost damage for flooding.

 Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa had the least costs for winter storms in the Midwest, followed by Michigan and Indiana

 Michigan and Wisconsin fared better than the other Midwest states for severe storm damage, but still incurred high damage costs. The NCEI site states that nearly 70% of Michigan’s billon-dollar weather events (32 out of 46) have been severe storms resulting in over 46% of the total costs incurred by the state for combined categories, as of October 11, 2022. Therefore, this is Michigan’s biggest climate change-related severe weather event category.

In addition to damage caused by extreme weather events, consider other factors when evaluating a refuge state, i.e., temperature and humidity changes, and water resources. Although not addressed here, cost of living, housing costs and availability, the job market and more should be considered. It is also critical that the state and local governments support efforts to adapt to hazards.


Per the map showing the rate of temperature change this century (Fig. 10), much of Minnesota and Michigan, and to a lesser degree parts of Wisconsin, have heated up faster than the rest of the Midwest. Their average temperature increases exceed those of the world’s average—especially in the northwestern section of Michigan’s lower peninsula and Northern Minnesota. This means more heat waves of longer duration. Whereas Missouri and parts of Iowa and Indiana show less extreme temperature increases.

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Fig. 2. NCEI Combined Weather Events Fig. 3. Drought Fig. 4. Flooding
Fig. 5. Freeze

The 4th National Climate Assessment Report, in agreement with the latest IPCC reports, predicts that temperatures, particularly in the Midwest, will continue to go up. 5 As temperatures increase, more moisture is absorbed into the atmosphere, raising the humidity, and thus aggravating the effects of storm activity. Generally, the Midwest is, and will be, also experiencing a rise in precipitation and humidity, as shown in the precipitation map (Fig. 11). Humidity levels are expected to be higher with wetter springs, but with drier conditions during the summer months, thus affecting crops adversely. This year parts of Michigan’s lower peninsula have technically been in drought since July 1, having received lower summer and fall precipitation than expected.

Michigan’s government predicts that the general increase in temperature and humidity will result in an increase in heat-related illnesses and deaths, waterborne diseases, respiratory diseases, vector-borne disease (from migrating mosquitoes, ticks, fleas, etc.), and more.6

Residents of cities, including those in the Midwest, are, and will continue to be, more adversely affected by heat waves since cities are Urban Heat Islands (UHI), where higher temperatures develop than in surrounding areas.7


On the positive side, Midwest states bordering one or more Great Lakes (Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana and Illinois) benefit from being near the largest fresh water source in the nation. The Great Lakes make up 84% of the fresh water in the nation and about 21% of that in the world. 8 Plus the Mississippi, Missouri, Illinois and Ohio rivers contribute to the Midwest’s water resources. This abundant water source not only virtually guarantees fresh water supply for drinking and washing, but also provides for shipping, industrial uses, food, cooling for energy plants,

Fig. 9. Winter Storm
Fig. 10. Temperature Changes

— Policy Statement from the American Meteorological Society


and a 7 to 10 percent chance of a 7.5+ one at New Madrid within the next 50 years.10 However, there is little earthquake damage risk for the Midwest states of Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota and even Iowa, which borders Missouri.


No state will escape the negative effects of climate change. The best one can do is to select a state less affected by the most dangerous and destructive effects, but which is also making its communities safer and more resilient, along with reducing/ eliminating its CO2 emissions.

and irrigation, as well as a tourist draw for fishing and water-related recreation.

However, with increased precipitation and heavy rain from violent storms, some areas of the Great Lake states are experiencing flooding, erosion of soil along riverbanks and lake borders, and water quality issues, i.e., algae blooms, runoff associated with crop and lawn treatments. Warming temperatures are also reducing the time that lakes are frozen, which limits the ice fishing season.


The U.S. is one of the most volcanically active countries and has experienced nearly 30,000 earthquakes just in the last year.9 These types of natural disasters are concentrated in states primarily bordering the Pacific Ocean. Obviously, there are no volcanoes near any Midwest states. Earthquakes are another story. In early 1811, there were three major earthquakes of magnitude 7.5+ centered at New Madrid, Missouri. Per the U.S. Geological Survey there is a 25 to 40 percent chance of a magnitude 6.0 earthquake

The author’s article, Creating Building Resilience and Occupant Safety to Adapt to a Changing Climate, in the Fall 2022 issue of Tech Century outlined methods for making buildings safer and more resilient in view of climate change. However, more needs to be done than just addressing buildings. After specific hazards are clearly identified, actions can be developed, e.g., making changes to have more sustainable land use, locating/relocating communities to higher ground and farther from shorelines, burying distribution power lines, switching to site- and community-distributed alternative energies (i.e., solar energy, wind) and eliminating the need for much of the current infrastructure for storm water, and thus chemical pollution to waterways and drinking water sources by employing Low Impact Design (LID). LID involves installing bioswales, rain gardens, green roofs, pervious surfaces, and infiltration basins and trenches.

An excellent example of a community designed to be safer and more sustainable is located in one of the states most affected by extreme weather events—Florida. Babcock Ranch, located about 20 miles north of Ft. Meyers, has survived the Category 4 Hurricane Ian, in September of 2022, while the area surrounding the community was decimated. Babcock Ranch’s nearly 5,000 residents were able to continue normal activities and assist oth -

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“The provision of adequate fresh-water resources for people and ecosystems will be one of the most critical and potentially contentious issues facing society and governments at all levels during the 21st century.”
Fig. 11. Precipitation

What’s predicted for you?

See what is predicted regarding climate change for your neighborhood by entering your address at the CMRA (Climate Mapping for Resilience and Adaptation) site at

ers since they didn’t lose power nor Internet service and incurred only minimal structural damage with no flooding. The community was built on higher ground and about 20 miles inland to protect it from water surges and flooding. Power is supplied by a shared off-grid photovoltaic system using buried power distribution lines. Sites use native vegetation and carefully designed buildings with Low Impact Design (LID) for their storm water systems. 11


Both Michigan and Wisconsin meet the criteria of being the states least affected by the most damaging effects of extreme weather events and other natural disasters. Both also benefit from their proximity to the nation’s largest fresh water source. However, there is no escape from climate change: both states are experiencing, and will continue to experience, more frequent and higher temperature heat waves, frequent and damaging storms, and changes in humidity and precipitation which will affect crops and cause an increase in heat-related and vectorborne diseases and deaths.

Michigan and Wisconsin could be climate change refuge areas, but only if their communities first recognize their unique dangers from climate change and then systematically adapt their cities, buildings, storm water systems, transportation infrastructure, electrical sources and distribution networks, emergency systems and farming processes to address:

 Violent storms.

 Flooding in some areas.

 Intermittent power disruptions.

 Wet springs and dry summers.

 Ways to keep people cool during heat waves and safe from storms and flooding.

Particular attention must be paid to the largest cities, especially in areas where poor residents cannot afford air conditioning.

Is the Midwest a climate change refuge? Potentially yes, with Michigan and Wisconsin at the top of the list, but it depends on what steps they take now, and in the future, to adapt to a changing climate.


1. accessed 10/30/2022

2. accessed 10/30/2022

3. accessed 10/30/2022

4. NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) U.S. Billion-Dollar Weather and Climate Disasters (2022) https:// accessed 11/01/22

5. accessed 12/04/2022

6. mdhhs/Safety-and-Injury-Prevention/Environmental-Health/ Climate/Documents/Climate_effects_on_health_extreme_heat_ and_HRI.pdf?rev=12dc48b8e1a742c3a95da9822fe72f9e&hash=C9 31C8936CD6E35F01E844C564877660 accessed 11/15/2022

7. Urban Heat Islands can be thought of as city areas experiencing higher temperatures than its surrounding suburban and rural areas due to more human activities, higher populations, and vegetation areas being replaced by pavement and buildings.

8. accessed 11/30/2022

9. accessed 11/26/2022 and https://earthquaketrack. com/p/united-states/recent accessed 11/26/2022

10. accessed 12/01/2022

11. accessed 11/15/2022

An experienced engineer and educator, Janice K. Means, PE, LEED AP, FESD, FASHRAE , has consulted internationally for analyzing blasting effects to pipelines and energy sustainability and taught environmental and alternative energy courses at university level. She is Professor Emerita at Lawrence Technological University. A 2021 Engineering Society of Detroit Gold Awardee, she is also a member of the TechCentury Editorial Board and past recipient of the John G. Petty Image Award.


How Rapid Access to Information Affects Our Perceptions and Attitudes

Many in Michigan, America, and the world take rapid access to information for granted. Entire generations have never lived in a world without devices that deliver limitless information, images, and more, at their fingertips or at a voice command.

Surely, this is a good thing. Technology now delivers information that makes science, engineering, and every career field accessible to millions. It is no longer just a privileged few who have access to experts, sponsors, and technical libraries, or those gifted enough (Thomas Edison comes to mind) to blaze a path of their own into the theoretical or applied sciences.

Is there everything to like, and nothing not to like, about our immediate access to information and entertainment?

Consider that the immediacy of everything can blur historical context. Take water quality, for example. The press of daily information and advocacy voices highlighting immediate concerns can get in the way of long-term questions such as:

 Have we made progress compared to 25/50/100 years ago?

 How serious are today’s water concerns in relation to those early in the twentieth century when many people were sickened or died from typhoid fever from drinking contaminated water?

 Are habitats in my own region (the Detroit River, for example) more, or less, robust than 25 or 50 years ago as measured by diversity of species and water quality data?

Historical context is important because it can identify trends, trajectory, progress, or lack thereof. However, we must work harder and dig deeper to understand historical context.

Rapidly communicated information can be of great benefit by alerting us to an emerging epidemic or an impending natural disaster, so governments, individuals, companies,

etc., can be as prepared as possible. Pollution events, too, such as spills or drinking water advisories can be communicated rapidly to the public and water customers.

However, the rapidity and social weight of today’s communications may also convince us that the consensus view of the scientific community at a particular moment in time is the last word on a subject, that contrarian views should be rejected, or even censored, even as the consensus of the moment has often been shown to be incomplete or incorrect. Before they were publicly recognized giants of science, Albert Einstein, Werner Heisenberg, Paul Dirac, and many others held contrarian views in their times.

Data, statistics, models, algorithms, and the like— unimaginable a few generations ago—are now widely available for reference, reflection, and action. We rely on such tools of science and applied science, and the benefits are incalculable.

However, identifying the limitations and boundaries of these models and statistics is often neglected, especially in the public arena. Thus, oversimplification, or even misinterpretation, can occur, as when it’s announced that a “toxic chemical” has been detected in a water supply. With today’s fantastically low detection levels (parts per trillion or parts per quadrillion), merely detecting a “toxic chemical” may or may not signify danger, a distinction too often lost in public communications. The amount, as well as other factors such as transmissibility, is important to identify before danger can be proclaimed.

Several generations ago, “near zero” meant one part per million. When I embarked on my career, we could detect 1 polluting (red) marble in a 10-foot long by 10-foot wide by 1-foot-high box filled with a million blue marbles. Today, we can detect 1 polluting (red) marble in that same 10-foot by 10-foot box filled with a trillion blue marbles—a box 200 miles (yes, miles!) high rather than 1-foot high. Finding 1,000 red marbles in that sky-high box represents far less pollution than finding 1 red marble in the small box.

28  |  TechCentury FALL 2021

Rapid access to information means collaboration across countries and the globe is easier than ever before, facilitating accelerated advancement in practically every field of study. However, the security of confidential information, intellectual property, and inventions is also under assault at an unprecedented rate.

Rapid access to information can be a tremendous boon to people and societies if we also understand limitations, context, and the potential for misinterpretation and manipulation. That appropriate balance enables us to maximize the benefits of information about often complex and manylayered subjects. As a practical matter, we can 1) verify the credibility of a source of information, 2) review at least one credible contrary perspective, 3) check to see if the source of information has an advocacy agenda (not disqualifying in itself but worth knowing), 4) eliminate or limit sources we know to be provocative for the sake of manipulation.

Literature and all the arts often give insights that go beyond data, models, and the like. J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of The Rings , as well as Peter Jackson’s film adaptations and Amazon’s The Rings of Power series, depict a

spectacular far-seeing stone called a Palantir. In Tolkien’s mythology, Palantiri were created by a master artist and inventor for good and useful purposes; that is, to see things across vast reaches of land and sea, sometimes view possible events, and to use this knowledge wisely. Later, Palantiri were corrupted so that those who gazed into them saw despair-inducing or desire-inducing or rage-inducing images. Professor Tolkien was a visionary in foretelling what too often happens when people are obsessively attached to devices of all kinds, when they seek out information, images, and voices that manipulate or misinform them. Discerning the difference between seeking and using information wisely, and being misinformed or manipulated, is the essential challenge of the devices on which we increasingly rely.

Thomas Doran, FESD, PE, is an ESD Fellow and the author (as T.M. Doran) of Toward the Gleam, Terrapin, Iota , and The Lucifer Ego . He was a principal at Hubbell, Roth & Clark, president of Tetra Tech/MPS, and an adjunct professor at Lawrence Technological University.
“Rapid access to information can be a tremendous boon to people and societies if we also understand limitations, context, and the potential for misinterpretation and manipulation.”
To use an analogy, today we can detect one polluting (red) marble in that a box filled with a trillion blue marbles. At the beginning of the author’s career, it was one in one million.




As more and more Americans make the choice to own an electric vehicle (EV)—there are an estimated 1.5 million EVs on the road right now—it may be time to ask the question: are we ready?

When President Joe Biden was elected in 2020, nearly 3 percent of US automotive sales were electric vehicles. Campaigning on a goal to have nearly half of the new cars sold by 2030 be EV, Biden also earmarked money in his initial infrastructure plan and is currently working toward that plan.

There are several advantages to owning an EV. For example, no fossil fuel is required for propulsion so owners can save money on gas. Estimates state that paying $0.10 per kW is the equivalent of driving on gasoline that costs less than $1 per gallon.

EVs are also considered environmentally friendly and have lower maintenance and, some say, a better performance. But there are also downsides to electric cars, such as their batteries require rare metals to make and the actual manufacturing of electric cars causes more emissions than gas powered vehicles. In addition, EVs can be expensive to buy.

Still, EV manufacturing and ownership is a driving force in the automobile industry—and governmental programs—today. Many incentive plans are in place to encourage more EV drivers. In Michigan, the Consumers Energy PowerMIDrive program offers rebates to residential customers who install Level 2 or direct current fast charging (DCFC) stations. Residential customers are eligible for a $500 rebate to install a qualified Level 2 EV charging station. In addition an Electric Vehicle (EV) Charging Station Rebate, among other programs, is offered via DTE Energy.

Consumers can also file for federal or state tax credits. The credit of up to $7,500 will be offered to people who buy certain new electric vehicles as well as some plugin gas-electric hybrids and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. For people who buy a used vehicle that runs on battery power, a $4,000 credit will be available. (Note: More information on other Michigan incentives can be found at,)

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced plans in September at the Detroit Regional Chambers Economic Policy Conference to “bolster Michigan’s electric vehicle charging infrastructure and train more workers for jobs in the industry,” according to a Bridge magazine article. MichAuto, an initiative of the Detroit Regional Chamber, predicts that switching to autonomous vehicles would lose the state nearly 2.6 million lost jobs by 2051. With Whitmer’s plan, she hopes to “benefit from the shift to electric vehicles to save jobs that otherwise would be threatened by the demise of the internal combustion engine.”

To encourage that happening, the Bridge article indicates that “State leaders are working with an initial $1.25 million to provide grants to install publicly-accessible charging stations along the state’s Lake Michigan shoreline. Michigan also plans to spend up to $5 million to start an employer-led training program to build a workforce capable of filling jobs in the globally competitive vehicle electrification industry.”

But while the demand for electric vehicles climbs, some states do not yet have the appropriate infrastructure to make owning an electric vehicle viable. Staff at The Fabricator—an online digital media publication in the metal manufacturing marketplace—recently took a look at which states were best equipped. The organization looked at the number of registered electric cars per capita, the availability of public chargers, state tax incentives for personal electric vehicle owners, gas prices, and electricity prices to determine which states are the best (and worst) to own an electric vehicle.

Michigan was 24th on the list with 17,460 vehicle registrations; 1,037 charging stations and 4664 public chargers. Expense wise, gasoline costs $3.96 per gallon while the average electricity price is 12.21 (cents/kwh).

South Carolina-based Sitarian Corporation’s EV Exchange also conducted an extensive online survey to determine a baseline for the level of preparation status of the country for an EV onslaught. The EV Exchange was created to provide a strategic, business-to-business

30  |  TechCentury FALL 2021

program and platform allowing the three key stakeholder communities—EV manufacturers and its ecosystem players, private sector energy and utility infrastructure organizations and their suppliers, and Federal, State & Local Energy & Utility Departments, Agencies, Regulators—to work in partnership to plan, execute and achieve EV goals and critical positive climate change impact initiatives. The program “offers the stakeholder communities the forum to meet and educate each other about the operations, infrastructure, investment, cost recovery, regulatory and policy issues with the expanding deployment of EVs and EV infrastructure to execute and achieve goals for effective EV deployment and to meet climate change goals and balance policy issues around ESG.”

Respondents to the 2022 survey included EV industry players such as manufacturers; federal, state and local government representatives; utilities and agencies; as well as private sector energy and utilities. Among the areas looked at included charging infrastructure, key technologies, cost and total cost of ownership, human resources, cyber security and the supply chain.

The results of the initial survey indicated: “Across all EVX core research areas, the EVX Cross Intelligence Survey™ data indicates that the three communities believe that currently we are not ready for adequate EV adoption and deployment.”

The EV Exchange will continue to follow up with additional Think Tank surveys, but initially, Paul Sitar, CEO, Head of Business Creation & Development at Sitarian and Creator and Director of the EV Exchange, said “To go from a petroleum-based society and economy to an electrified one is not a small task…. It was profound to see the results of our survey. Clearly moving to EV is a great initiative, and we understand its importance, but we are not ready to go for 100 percent electrification… Even if we wanted to give EVs to everyone, do we have the infrastructure to handle it? The answer is no.”

Sitar identified the main issues are: lack of infrastructure; supply chain; raw materials; and human resources. There’s also the question of security, especially during power outages, such as the Eastern Seaboard Blackout of 2003.

“It is a point of national security. We know that the energy infrastructure is always being probed, even right now. It is one of our vulnerabilities. You have to look at what’s going on in Ukraine right now. Attacking the electrical grid kills many birds with one stone. Besides knocking out power, you’re knocking out electricity for water purification, etc.,” he said, stating that to be completely ready, a disaster plan for data recovery must be heightened.

“Security is a very important aspect—we must look at resiliency, disruption, and what backups are in place.

The government and private sector are anticipating these things. Whether it’s bilateral and bidirectional charging, having a generator for X amount of miles—which is better than storing kerosine or gasoline in your garage—disaster planning will be paramount,” he explained.

Human resources—having the trained staff and expertise available to produce and repair the EVs—is also crucial. Right now, as one respondent to the survey said: “We have the bare bones. We need training for service techs and electricians installing charging equipment, incentives for existing licensed repair facilities to send people for training and procure new equipment for servicing EVs. A professional ASE certification exists for technicians. The existing state equipment is in a serious state of disrepair and no one seems to want to be responsible for maintaining the existing network.”

Sitar explains that a new focus is needed in training. “As a mechanic, the internal combustion engine has its own knowledge base. It’s going be a different knowledge base for EVs—hardware and computer software will be paramount in running these vehicles. That’s just off a battery electric vehicle. Then think about autonomous—it’s going to be like a supercomputer. It will need a new sophistication of computer understanding. It will parallel what a mechanic now does but it will be a different language,” he said.

“There is a gap right now, a definite inadequacy both in high school education and even higher ed— there is a knowledge gap that we need to look at,” he said.

Material engineering is going to return full force. “Materials are going to be so important right now for these vehicles. Materials will have to be lightweight; the enemy of a battery is weight. The heavier a vehicle, the more drain on the battery. Plus we need to look at the amount of petroleum it takes to run our grids, and to manufacture our vehicles,” he said. “There is a lot of plastic in EVs, aluminum instead of steel, so you’re looking at composites, thermoplastics, new materials, instead of steel and that still takes a lot of petroleum.”

“Many higher education engineering curriculums throughout the US have done away with material engineering for other focuses. Now it will need to become a core competency again,” Sitar explained.

This new education will not be a one time thing, he added. “Because vehicles are becoming so hardware and software intensive, training will be ongoing. Even your laptop software and technology is always changing. It is going to challenge the constant evolution of learning to support electrical on a large scale…. It will be a constant learning process.”

Despite the challenges, Sitar said moving to EVs is possible and potentially positive. “We have to look at TCO—total cost of ownership—and everyone’s grappling with that question. Everyone is hoping electrification will have a major benefit to the environment and planet. But there must be a smart, strategic, thoughtful review, to make it happen.”

Paul Sitar

The Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler

One of the features of this edition of TechCentury is the essay from the winner of our student writing contest. This is the fifth year of doing the contest and has become one of my favorite parts of the publication. Every year, we offer different prompts for the students and for this competition, one of the prompts was “What is your favorite science fiction story, why, and how is engineering involved in the storyline?” This prompt precipitated discussion amongst the TechCentury Editorial Board, and it was decided to premier a book review from The Engineering Society of Detroit members in future issues. As the Chair of the TechCentury Editorial Board, I am pleased to be able to write the inaugural column in which we hope is a recurring series.

As I was considering the theme of this issue, primarily focused on climate change, I could not help but think of a book that speaks to this in a stark manner. In Octavia Butler’s 1993 post-apocalyptic novel Parable of the Sower, she imagines a near future Los Angeles that has been ravaged by global climate changes, economic crises, and social unrest. The novel, told through the eyes of 15-year-old Lauren Olamina, takes place in the early 2020s, starting in 2024, only a year away from where we are now. Lauren and her family are living in a gated community with limited access

to clean water, food, and electricity. They are forced to fight off attacks from the outside and their daily lives are consumed with survival. While the world is not in the dire straits that the book supposes, there are warning signs that Ms. Butler has laid out. One of the underlying themes throughout the book is the idea of water shortage, which is the cause of much of the unrest. As water is an essential part of life, these shortages give rise to black markets, crime, and corruption. While the current flooding in California makes this seem unlikely at this point, the region has been in drought conditions for many years, with 2022 being the second driest year in the last 128 years, according to states/California.

While water shortages are not imminent, scientists and officials are planning for the time when water in the West is not readily available. The Colorado River Aqueduct, which provides water for a significant part of Southern California, receives water from the Colorado River Basin. We have all read stories about Lake Mead, part of the basin, and its plummeting water levels after prolonged drought conditions. These plummeting water levels have brought about sensational stories about finding murder victims from the 1970s, but represent a threat to the water supply that provides drinking water, along with agricultural water, to many communities. This not only threatens drinking

water, an essential part of life, but could potentially threaten crops as well, leading to food shortages, as also brought to light in this novel.

Engineers, scientists, leaders, and residents must work together to address this growing concern. Water conservation efforts are underway, but it is likely they will need to be stepped up. This dystopian novel offers up a bleak futuristic view of where we could be heading. At its heart, it examines the desperate measures that people will take to protect their loved ones and the dangers that arise when societal norms collapse.

Fantasy and science fiction can often offer an escape from the real world. While this novel is less fantastical, and has some realistic qualities, the faith of the main character Lauren, through some truly heartbreaking events, brings the story to life.

32  |  TechCentury SPRING 2023
Karyn Stickel is an Associate at Hubbell, Roth & Clark and serves as chair of ESD’s T ech Century Editorial Board.
“This dystopian novel offers up a bleak futuristic view of where we could be heading. ”


ACS, Michigan

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